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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:51 2nd February 2014


A second-half brace from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain saw the Eagles go down 2-0 to league leaders Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.

The youngster popped up with two well taken goals to send Arsene Wenger's side back to the Premier League summit, meaning the superb defensive display in the first half from the visitors was all in vain.

Unsurprising the hosts started with plenty of possession and seven minutes in a delightful ball by Mesut Ozil allowed Nacho Monreal a route to goal but Julian Speroni stayed big to save with his legs, and soon after Santi Carzola fired a free-kick over the bar.

After those couple of scares the Eagles began to find themselves with more of the ball and kept the Gunners quiet with Damien Delaney in particular making some vital interceptions, and Marouane Chamakh found himself charging towards goal but a poor touch as he got inside the box saw the shooting opportunity slip away.

Twelve minutes before the break Speroni had to be at his best when Ozil floated a free-kick into the area which, despite the best efforts of the leaping Laurent Koscielny, missed everyone and the keeper had to instinctively dive to his right to prevent the ball creeping into the net.

Having seen his side defend so stoically in the first half, Tony Pulis must have been disappointed to see Arsenal take the lead two minutes into the second. Carzola drifted infield from the right and played a cute ball to the onrushing Oxlade-Chamberlain who coolly dinked it over Speroni and into the net.

The Eagles could have drawn level immediately when Jason Puncheon burst down the wing and crossed for Yannick Bolasie whose mis-cued header fell perfectly for Cameron Jerome to head home from three yards but Wojciech Szczesny managed to block the striker's attempt.

Some slick passing from Carzola and Mikel Arteta created an opportunity for Lukas Podolski who  could only slam the ball into the side netting, but chances were coming more frequently for Palace and Barry Bannan couldn't find the target after being teed up by Puncheon.

But the killer goal came with 17 minutes to go. Oxlade-Chamberain pulled off a neat backheel to Olivier Giroud, spun around and latched onto the Frenchman's return pass which played him in on goal, and after the England midfielder had burst into the box his hard and low shot was too much for Speroni who could only get a hand to it.

As the game petered out the Eagles attempted to haul themselves back in contention but Bolasie blazed a 25 yarder over the bar before Jonny Parr saw his first-time blast suffer the same fate in the final minute as Pulis' side fell to their first league defeat in three games.

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Koscielny, Monreal, Arteta, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla, Ozil (Gibbs 83), Podolski (Rosicky 71), Giroud (Bendtner 83), Subs not used: Fabianski, Jenkinson, Zelalem, Gnabry.

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Gabbidon, Delaney, Parr, Bolasie, Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Puncheon, Chamakh (Gayle 82), Jerome (Bannan 56). Subs not used: Hennessey, Mariappa, McCarthy, Guedioura, Wilbraham.